How do you experience progress in your life?


The question you just read in the title (I hope you did) will function as guidance for writing my first blog post. I invite you, the reader, to give me feedback and share your own thoughts on this topics if you want. Feel free to use a similar or different approach than I did.

So back on track. What is progress (Vsauce music plays)? That will most likely depend on who you ask. But since I am writing this now, I'll tell you my view on this. Progress is an advancement of any magnitude in any area of life that brings you closer to where you want to be. So with this definition in mind, it becomes apparent that education/work/career is only a little slice of the whole thing. There are so many areas in life to dive deeper into and different people will obviously value different areas. The way I will structure the areas of life will be loosely based on a construct as well as on areas that are important to me personally.

The PKM planet

The construct is called the PKM planet. PKM stands for Personal Knowledge Management. It deals with 6 areas of knowledge in a wider sense. The areas are related to the personal manegement of productivity, relationships, ideas, skills, memory, and writing.


There is an interesting Youtube video going more in depth into PKM.


For those who know me; it won't come as a suprise that I am a big fan of spaced repetition learning and digital flash cards. Spaced repetition learning is a technique in which you learn the same pieces of information repeatedly with an increasing intervall between the learning sessions. It can be a very powerful way for long term memory. I highly recommend this interesting web comic on the topic.

I apply spaced repetition learning by using a software called Anki on a daily basis. It is very convenient because I can learn on my smartphone in offline mode. As of now, I have a gazillion Anki flashcards! Per day it takes me about 30 minutes to review about 400 flashcards. Needless to say, this habit fits perfectly into the theme of progress. It is quantifiable. I can see the numbers go up. Each time I add new cards, each time I correctly answer a card, and each time a finish a learning session, I see the progress. I have an increasing amount of knowledge and trivia in my head and I am so ready to drop them whenever I see an opening. Additonally, I can split my learning into many tiny sessions.


Okay, I'll admit it right now. This will be somewhat sport focused because that's what I really enjoy. When I think of skills, I think about breakdance moves and calisthenics moves. The latter is a fancy term for bodyweight training coming from the greek words for “beauty” and “strength”. Naming the etymology was partly to highlight that it really is a fancy term but mostly because I want to flex random facts.

Back on track. Finally achieving a difficult sport skill is giving me a different sensation of progress. Some breakdance moves like the windmill, flare or airflare take most people many years to master. Some calisthenics skills like the planche, one arm handtstand or the human flag are so difficult, that even the worlds best athletes can only hold these position for seconds. I have spent a good amount of years practicing these skills. While I have achieved some, I am far way from mastering all of them. But it is this sensation after countless years of practice, when you finally do stick the move that will forever be unique and special to me. Maybe you can relate to this with another skill. Breakdancing and calisthenics just so happen to be sports in which you can all of a sudden unlock a move: the first landed airflare or the first one arm pull up. You just complete it for the first time and are overcome with joy. To give you a more lively impression of this phenomenon here is a video of a guy landing a standing double back flip for the first time after years of training. It's a high effort high reward situation with difficult skills that not many people experience. There are countless sport skills and moves left for me to learn and I am so hyped to achieve them and just showcase them out of the blue whenever I want! The long journey that's behind the skills really gives them a lot of value. Progress is basically endless. As a German saying states:

Der Weg ist das Ziel.


I like to evaluate a lot of areas in my life and the progress of relationships is no exception. A fulfilling social life can open so many doors. Especially if you can ask your friends to open them for you because you're hands are occupied holding breakdance and calisthenics gear. Jokes aside, I am very grateful for my friends. Looking back I experienced friends coming and going for various reasons. I had friends from different circles who didnt knew each other and were then mashed together on my birthday party. It doesn't have to be weird but it can be. However, during the last two years I can say that I met a handful of awesome people through improv theatre. It just feels awesome to be able to see the people that I adore on a regular basis, do nice activities and just see time fly by. Sometimes I might have taken the friends I have for granted but I really want to emphasize that they are very appreciated and I hope I will be able to hang around with them for many more years to come. It is astounding that I feel so connected to people that I have known for only 1-2 years but got to see often and yet other people who I have known for far longer remain just acquaintances. I'd rather have a few dear friends than a million acquaintances. Progress might be a strange term here so let's just say I collect another kind of great memories with them.

Education / Work / Career

How does one smoothly segway from an emotional topic to a work related topic? If you come up with something please let me know because I don't. For many years I have been climbing up the education system. Grade by grade and then semester by semester. I can feel the progress when I improve my grades and finish projects. But more importantly is repeatedly getting out of my comfort zone. The hustle is real. Whenever I am anxious about not performing well in an examination, embarass myself in a presentation or be clueless in the beninging of a big project, I think back to the countless times that it worked out fine in the end. It will be always be fine. You will find a good university, apprenticeship, job etc. It won't always be easy, but that's okay. I have huge respect for people who accomplish whatever stage of education they're at because I know that at that time things are uncertain. When the hard work finally does pay off and you get that good grade, degree or job it's more than a mere advancement. It can be a new chapter in life. The aftermath of switching from high school to college or moving to another place becuase of a new job is much more. New people, new opportunities and new challenges. I am always sceptical when people say things like “After school/college/a promotion, I am over the hump and things will be easy”. Oh honey. Conquer everything that comes next but don't think that sometime you just magically reach a point and then you have it all. There's always room to improve. There is always more to do and that is good. Humans are meant to advance. We are built to advance. Quite frankly, when we are in the right mindset we are trimed for progress.


Whether you see the numbers go up, finally learn a new skill, meet great people or start a new chapter in your career, always remember that every step you take brings you infinitely farther to your goals than if you stand still. I invite you to share what progress means to you. Which areas are important to you? How do you see/feel/experience progress? What makes it meaningful? I am interested in your opinion and your feedback. Feel free to disagree and challenge my views – I can take it. I hope that this will be the beginning of a series of interesting blogs and responses. I leave you with the words from the Dragon Ball narrator:

Until we meet again.